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EP. REVIEW: Banana Fish


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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:30 pm Reply with quote
Pretty good show so far. I just wished ep 3 didn't rely on convenience so much. It was already a lot that they both end up sharing cell right after the cop wanted Max to protect Ash. But on top of that Ash read the stuff he wrote AND he also just happen to be the friend of his brother.

I also hope the show doesn't really expect Max to feel responsible about what happened with the brother. For now Max is just feeling down but it seems like the show is acting like he's really responsible when there was nothing else he could have done.
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A Mystery
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:39 pm Reply with quote
Of course there was nothing to be done. But too often people still feel insecure and guilty. It's hard to get rid of those thoughts and feelings
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sayrrin



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:34 pm Reply with quote
Is there really romance? As much as I'd like there to be, everyone I've seen who has read the manga says there is none.
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MF65



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:02 pm Reply with quote
sayrrin wrote:
Is there really romance? As much as I'd like there to be, everyone I've seen who has read the manga says there is none.

From what I read here and there, the author of the manga did say that Banana Fish is not BL. Because for her BL is mostly sex and spoiler[there will be none of that with Ash and Eiji, which makes sense given Ash's baggage.] But there are definitely strong feelings between the two of them.
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Lactobacillus yogurti



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:36 pm Reply with quote
So far, it's been a good thriller, but I can't help but think that Ash looks like Willam Belli out of drag.
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classicalzawa
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:03 pm Reply with quote
sayrrin wrote:
Is there really romance? As much as I'd like there to be, everyone I've seen who has read the manga says there is none.

As someone who has read the manga (4 times in fact), I can absolutely say that Ash and Eiji are in love and are clearly soul mates. This isn't BL though, we don't see anything explicit between them (for the record, I define "explicit" as "it would still be in porno territory if it was a straight couple", therefore I do not consider kissing to be in any way "explicit")

I personally view their romance as more asexual, which I think is awesome because I, too, am asexual. For so long, media basically shows that you have to be physically intimate to properly be "romantic" or "in love", but seeing Ash & Eiji clearly love each other without ever getting physically intimate? That really does mean a lot to me (because while I know I'm ace, I'm not entirely sure if I'm aromantic as well)

So I would definitely call Ash & Eiji's relationship asexual but that's not quite the same thing as "aromantic". If you're expecting more explicit stuff though? You'll have to look elsewhere for that.

As for ep 3, I am absolutely astounded that they didn't have to cleverly "censor" that moment! Think about Yuri on Ice, where they had to have an arm in the way for the same activity!
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:39 pm Reply with quote
A Mystery wrote:
Of course there was nothing to be done. But too often people still feel insecure and guilty. It's hard to get rid of those thoughts and feelings


I'm fine with that, I just hope the resolution isn't "Max was a terrible friend and should have done more" (of course without saying what that more is).
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SailorTralfamadore



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:48 pm Reply with quote
classicalzawa wrote:
As for ep 3, I am absolutely astounded that they didn't have to cleverly "censor" that moment! Think about Yuri on Ice, where they had to have an arm in the way for the same activity!


I addressed this in the review, though not sure I was clear (and didn't want to make it a direct comparison between that and the YOI scene), but I think the difference is that the gesture in the Banana Fish context wasn't romantic or sexual. Even if they get in a relationship later, at this point Ash was just kissing Eiji as a ruse to pass information to him. Anime is often fine with same-sex affection as long as the characters aren't really in love, if it's "fake gay," but that clearly wouldn't be the case with Yuri on Ice so that's probably why (according to comments Yamamoto has made) that scene encountered censorship.

I also think it's different that Banana Fish is an adaptation. There's only so much they can do when the manga already has that scene, without disappointing fans. Yuri on Ice was an anime-original work so the creators had more ability to change things.

Anyway, re: the comments about labeling it as BL... I've always been under the impression, and this seems to be backed-up by the ANN encyclopedia definition, that something that focuses on romance between two men is "BL" regardless of if it's sexually explicit or not. "Yaoi" is the term if it goes the sex route. Banana Fish seems to be renowned for being an early popular example of a BL romance, so even if that's not the only plot thread, I don't see what the issue is with labeling it as such, when so many of its fans over the years seem to view it that way. Most good romance stories, straight or gay, have more going on in them than just the relationship itself. Isn't the old joke about Spice and Wolf that it's "really" about economics?


Last edited by SailorTralfamadore on Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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classicalzawa
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:46 pm Reply with quote
Regardless of original intentions here, that would be a passionate and involved kiss even if it were between a straight couple. To me, it doesn't really matter if the kiss was romantic or not, I was expecting any glorified kiss between two male characters to still need some sort of lame censoring in Japan. Censor now, ask later sort of thing, I guess?

Even if Yuri on Ice was original and had control, I definitely had the feeling that they didn't want to show that scene with an arm in the way.

I've personally always seen BL and yaoi used in a very similar way. To me, "yaoi" is like the equivalent of "hentai" (definitely explicit) while "BL" is similar is "ecchi" (where it doesn't show anything explicit, but it sure can get close to that line). It doesn't help that a lot of manga publishers use BL and yaoi interchangeably though (mostly older DMP/June stuff), so that kind of blurred the line for me. Still, I've always thought of them as almost the same thing, but I tend to think of both as being sexually charged relationships and I would not call Ash & Eiji's relationship sexually charged (even with this scene, which clearly had other purposes). I guess it's kind of like that one supreme court justice who said "I'll know porn when I see it", I'll know BL/yaoi when I see it
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SailorTralfamadore



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:25 pm Reply with quote
classicalzawa wrote:
Even if Yuri on Ice was original and had control, I definitely had the feeling that they didn't want to show that scene with an arm in the way.


Oh of course. I meant the other way around: censors can probably exert more control where the creators are freer to change things. They're more hampered in when something is based on a preexisting work, and fans have preexisting expectations about what they expect to see and not see.

(This is all speculation, but I know that mangaka and other original creators can have a really big influence on the production of an anime based on their work and demand a lot of things, including insisting that it won't go forward without certain conditions. That's probably true with veteran directors too, but Yamamoto had only directed two previous anime that hadn't sold that well. Even so, it sounds like she was able to put her foot down for some things with Yuri on Ice, like people who originally wanted the kiss scene completely cut.)
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rahzel rose
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:22 am Reply with quote
I have to say that the highlight of the show for me thus far has been Uchida Yuuma’s acting. He is doing a fantastic job as Ash and I feel like this role is really highlighting how versatile he is.

Also the opening song is amazing and I can’t wait for it to go on sale. I hadn’t heard of the band before, but I’m familiar with Yosh through his collaborations with Sawano Hiroyuki. I’ll definitely have to check out more of their music.
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Ashen Phoenix



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:41 pm Reply with quote
rahzel rose wrote:
I have to say that the highlight of the show for me thus far has been Uchida Yuuma’s acting. He is doing a fantastic job as Ash and I feel like this role is really highlighting how versatile he is.

Also the opening song is amazing and I can’t wait for it to go on sale. I hadn’t heard of the band before, but I’m familiar with Yosh through his collaborations with Sawano Hiroyuki. I’ll definitely have to check out more of their music.

I'm definitely digging Uchida's acting as well. And yeah, the music struck me right off the bat as something unusual and kick-ass. I enjoyed the ED as well.

As a newbie to this franchise I'm excited to see what happens next.
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katscradle



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:35 pm Reply with quote
SailorTralfamadore wrote:
Anyway, re: the comments about labeling it as BL... I've always been under the impression, and this seems to be backed-up by the ANN encyclopedia definition, that something that focuses on romance between two men is "BL" regardless of if it's sexually explicit or not. "Yaoi" is the term if it goes the sex route. Banana Fish seems to be renowned for being an early popular example of a BL romance, so even if that's not the only plot thread, I don't see what the issue is with labeling it as such, when so many of its fans over the years seem to view it that way. Most good romance stories, straight or gay, have more going on in them than just the relationship itself.


Personally if I'm putting Banana Fish in a category I use shôjo because that's what it is. Speaking more towards genre and the m/m romance, BF is somewhat reminescent of shôunen ai in various aspects, one being it was serialized in the same girl's magazine as older foundational works. The shôunen ai subgenre are under the BL umbrella now so to speak but, it's that shôjo demographic and tradition again. I see some people using BL or yaoi I assume since the word yaoi in western fandom is almost interchangeable and because of publisher branding. (I've never used yaoi as a mark of explicitness rather how a work is published). But, I think doing so both ignores the history and gives false expectations. BL wasn't the consolidated genre at the time the BF manga was started and has changed since too, along with fandom. (There is a contingent of fans that want "yaoi" to stop being used because of so many negative images it brings up for example.) Despite the genre having a lot of variety today many people have very negative views on it and debates about it have existed for decades too. The BF anime is marketing itself as updated so how the romance is handled is a big question. Especially since as the review pointed out there have been some recent releases that were also more LGBTQ friendly. So far with BF there have been parts that are a bit more voyeuristic. Still, I think Yoshida was following in various traditions at the time with a love story that is not sexual love as was a point commented earlier too. So I have a hard time believing the adaptation will fit more modern criteria a variety of audiences hold. I generally just describe BF as a crime drama with a love story between Ash and Eiji. I've seen some other fans use the word queer which fits pretty well. That's just not a word I personally use because of its negative history. And especially with older titles one gets into even more thorny issues around any kind of LGBT label.
Anyway my two cents on why labels matter.
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Gina Szanboti



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:45 am Reply with quote
I don't really care about genre labels, just the content and whether it's any good or not. So far, I'm loving it, whatever it is.

Quote:
I just wished ep 3 didn't rely on convenience so much. It was already a lot that they both end up sharing cell right after the cop wanted Max to protect Ash. But on top of that Ash read the stuff he wrote AND he also just happen to be the friend of his brother.

I think the only contrivance here is that Max was present when Ash's brother went nuts. I was under the impression that the cops had arranged for them to share a cell (kinda hard to protect him otherwise), and Ash's reading his work is partly characterization of Ash as not just another dumb hood, but someone who reads a variety of things to educate himself about the world. It was also foreshadowed by Ash's recognizing the place the dying guy told him to take the vial to (presumably the offices of the magazine/paper Max worked for). Max is apparently fairly well known as a journalist, so anyone reading his work isn't too far-fetched, despite Max's ecstatic reaction. Not that I expect you to agree with any of this. Smile
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meiam



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:02 am Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
I think the only contrivance here is that Max was present when Ash's brother went nuts. I was under the impression that the cops had arranged for them to share a cell (kinda hard to protect him otherwise), and Ash's reading his work is partly characterization of Ash as not just another dumb hood, but someone who reads a variety of things to educate himself about the world. It was also foreshadowed by Ash's recognizing the place the dying guy told him to take the vial to (presumably the offices of the magazine/paper Max worked for). Max is apparently fairly well known as a journalist, so anyone reading his work isn't too far-fetched, despite Max's ecstatic reaction. Not that I expect you to agree with any of this. Smile


I'm not quite sure how jail work (or is this prison, the show isn't clear on whether or not Ash is awaiting trial and it's a bit strange that long established gang are in a short term jail), but it seems strange that they would put a suspected murderer in the same cell as someone who committed a minor misdemeanor. But really that and Ash being familiar with his writing are small time compare him being his brother friend/shooter. Iraq saw over 1.5 millions soldier (to possibly 3 millions, it's hard to find a reliable number) Vietnam was also close to 3 millions. One in a millions would literally be more likely.
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